American legendary singer, actress and comedian Bette Midler initially found fame as a singer with her debut album, The Divine Miss M (1972), then a self-titled album, Bette Midler (1973), in which she netted her first Grammy in 1973. She continued to draw the public's attention with the 1979's The Rose Soundtrack, the 1988's Beaches soundtrack and her twelve-studio album Some People's Lives (1990). Due to her brilliant performances, Midler took home three Grammy Awards. Midler's memorable singing performance in The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1992) also garnered an Emmy Award and an American Comedy award. In 1997, The Grammy winning star delivered a bright performance in the HBO special "Bette Midler in Concert: Diva Las Vegas," for which she won an Emmy Award, two Cable ACE Awards and an American Comedy Award.
As for acting, Bette Midler came to prominence with her starring role as the hard-living, rock singer Mary Rose Foster in a film based on the life of late rock icon Janis Joplin, The Rose (1979). Midler's significance performance won two Golden Globe Awards, and earned a nomination at the Oscars. She began establishing herself as a popular comedian when she was cast as Barbara Whiteman in Paul Mazursky's hit comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986). In 1989, she was honored with an American Comedy Award for playing mis-matched twins with Lily Tomlin in Big Business (1988). Midler cemented her position as a film star with her portrayal of Dixie Leonard in the WWII drama For the Boys (1991). Because of her bravura acting, she won a Golden Globe Award and received an Academy Award nomination. She picked up an American Comedy Award in 1996 for the scene stealing Doris Saphron in Get Shorty (1996). On the small screen, Midler also made a name for herself when she played Mama Rose in CBS’ television remake of the stage musical Gypsy (1993), in which she won a Golden Globe Award. She also received acclaimed for starring in her own sitcom "Bette" (2000). Through the show, Midler garnered a TV Guide award and a People's Choice award, as well as received a Golden Globe nomination.
Off screen, 5'1" Midler created a non-profit organization called the New York Restoration Project, which is geared toward cleaning up parks, gardens, and rivers in neglected areas of New York City, including Highbridge Park, Fort Washington Park, and Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan. The brown-eyed, blonde-haired star is the wife of performance artist Martin Von Haselberg, and the mother of their only daughter, Sophie Frederica Alohilani Von Haselberg.
The Divine Miss M
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of Fred Midler (housepainter, died late 1980s) and Ruth Midler (died late 1980s), Bette Davis Midler was born on December 1, 1945, in New Jersey, but grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. The third child of the family, Bette has two older sisters, Susan Midler (mental-health officer) and Judith Midler (died in 1968), and a younger brother named Daniel Midler (born mentally impaired).
Bette Midler, whose nickname is The Divine Miss M, has always loved singing and acting. As a teenager, she was part of a folk singing trio that toured Hawaiian army bases. After graduated from Honolulu's Radford High School in 1963, Bette briefly attended a drama school at the University of Hawaii. However, she dropped out of college after only one year of studying. She also studied acting at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York.
During Bette's early years in New York, she did various jobs, which included working as a go-go dancer in a Union City, New Jersey club, a hatcheck girl, a glove saleswoman at Stern's department store and a typist at Columbia University.
Off screen, Bette married German-born performance artist Martin Von Haselberg (born in 1949) on December 16, 1984, after just three months of dating. Two years later, the couple welcomed their daughter, Sophie Frederica Alohilani Von Haselberg (born on November 14, 1986) into the world.
The Wind Beneath My Wings
Bette Midler got her start as an actress in the 1960s with an unknown role on the television series "The Edge of Night." She then moved to the big screen when she got an unaccredited part as a passenger in Hawaii (1966). After the film, she flew to New York to become a stage actress and landed her first professional onstage role in "Miss Nefertiti Regrets" (1966), then played the lead role of Tzeitel in the Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof" (1967). She stayed with the role for three years. In 1974, Midler was honored with a Special Tony Award for her great contribution to Broadway.
While pursuing a stage career, Midler also began appearing as a singer in various New York cabarets, as well as New York City's Continental Bathhouse with accompanist Barry Manilow. Her performances caught the eye of Atlantic Records which signed her to their label in the year of 1971. Working with Manilow, Midler gained notice with her debut album titled The Divine Miss M (1972), which remained on the Billboard's album chart for over one year, climbed toward the top 10 and finally received platinum certification. Her second studio album, Bette Midler, was launched in 1973. Like its predecessor, her self-titled album was also well received and she won her first Grammy for Best New Artist in 1973.
The following year, Midler received her first important film role as Virgin Mary in The Thorn (1974), but went back to the small screen to provide her voice for Woody The Spoon in the TV series "Vegetable Soup" (1976). She then released the 1976's Songs For The New Depression, but it only peaked at the Top 30. Midler's follow up albums, Live At Last (1977) and Broken Blossom (1977), did even worse. However, Midler turned heads for her work in Bette Midler: Ol' Red Hair Is Back (1978, TV), in which she nabbed an Emmy for Outstanding Special-Comedy, Variety or Music. Her sixth album, Thighs and Whispers, was released in 1979, but it also failed to break the best-selling charts. In 1979, she was also seen on Broadway in "Bette! Divine Madness."
After five years away from film, Midler again attracted attention with her first starring role as hard living rock singer Mary Rose Foster in director Mark Rydell's The Rose (1979), a film loosely based on late rock icon Janis Joplin's life. Her spectacular acting handed her two Golden Globe Awards for Best New Female Star of the Year and Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical), as well as received a nomination at the Academy Awards. In addition to acting, Midler also sang for the soundtracks of the film. The Rose soundtrack (1979) sold more than a million copies, while the movie's title theme track reached No. 3 on the charts. She took home her second Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female in 1980.
Midler followed up the Rose with the 1980's Divine Madness, a wild in-concert performance filmed at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Though the album was certified platinum, it only peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard Chart. In 1982, Midler costarred with Ken Wahl for director Don Siegal's hit Jinxed! (1982, played Bonita Friml). After the film, Midler returned to her studio and released her ninth album titled No Frills (1983), which spawned no hits. Midler's next album, Mud Will Be Flung Tonight, hit the music shelves in 1985, and was honored with an American Comedy Award for Funniest Performance on a Record. She was also seen acting in the television movie David Letterman's Holiday Film Festival (1985).
In 1986, Midler reappeared on the silver screen when director Paul Mazursky cast her as the leading role of Barbara Whiteman, opposite Nick Nolte and Richard Dreyfuss, in the blockbuster smash comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986). As the film became a hit, Midler was promoted as one of the successful comedian actresses in Hollywood. She went on to take roles in such comedy films as Ruthless People (1986), portraying loathsome wife Barbara Stone imprisoned by her scoundrel husband (played by Danny DeVito), The Lottery (1987) and Outrageous Fortune (1987). Midler netted an American Comedy for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) for playing mis-matched twins with Lily Tomlin in Big Business (1988). She also lent her voice to Georgette in the animated children's feature "Oliver and Company."
Teaming up with Bonnie Bruckheimer-Martell and Margaret Jennings South, Midler formed the production company All Girl Productions in 1988. With All Girl Productions, she produced and starred in the tear-jerker Beaches (1988), playing popular singer Cecilia 'CC' Carol Bloom, as well as sang for the Beaches' soundtrack. The Beaches soundtrack spawned the mega-hit single "Wind Beneath My Wings" which skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard's singles chart in June of 1989. Moreover, she won a Grammy for Record of the Year.
In the 1990s, Midler played the role of a blue-collar mother in Stella (1990), and scored another hit with her twelve-studio album Some People's Lives (1990). The album produced the huge hit "From a Distance," which won a Grammy for Song of the Year. She next acted opposite Woody Allen in Scenes from a Mall (1991) before delivering a bright turn as Dixie Leonard in the WWII drama For the Boys (1991, opposite James Caan).
Midler won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical, as well as earned a nomination at the Oscars. The same year, she also launched the 1991's For the Boys soundtrack.
Midler guest starred in the second-to-last episode of the long running "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1992), singing Carson's favorite song "One for the Road." With her memorable performance, Midler won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program and an American Comedy for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special (Leading or Supporting) Network, Cable or Syndication.
She returned to the wide screen in 1993 with a starring role along side Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, as a trio of witches, in the fantasy comedy Hocus Pocus, and portrayed Mama Rose in CBS’ television remake of the stage musical "Gypsy" (1993), where she also worked for the Gypsy soundtrack. Due to Midler's outstanding acting, she took home a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries. The same year, she also released the album Experience the Divine (1993), and next launched Bette of Roses in 1995
Playing the small part of Doris Saphron in Get Shorty (1995), Midler nabbed an American Comedy for Funniest Female in a Supporting Role in Film. She worked with Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton for the hit comedy The First Wives Club (1996) and starred opposite Dennis Farina in That Old Feeling (1997) before vanishing from the big screen for a few years.
In 1997, Midler headlined the HBO special "Bette Midler in Concert: Diva Las Vegas." Her outstanding performance on the show won several awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program, two CableACE Awards for Music Special or Series and Performance in a Music Special or Series, and an American Comedy for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special (Leading or Supporting) Network, Cable or Syndication. She went back to recording studio in 1998 for the Bathhouse Betty album.
In the new millennium, Midler released Bette, and returned to films with Danny DeVito and Neve Campbell for the feature comedy Drowning Mona (2000), starred as Jacqueline Susann in the biopic Isn't She Great (2000) and made a cameo in What Women Want (2000, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt). She also had her own sitcom on CBS’ "Bette" (2000), playing herself as wife, mother and diva, and won a TV Guide award for Actress of the Year in a New Series, a People's Choice, as well as earned a Golden Globe nomination. However, the series was quickly axed in early 2001.
Disappearing from the scene in 2003, Midler rejoined Barry Manilow for Bette Midler Sings The Rosemary Clooney Songbook (2003). The album became her best-selling album in almost fifteen years and received a nomination at the Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Album.
Midler was back in 2004 to star in the glossy remake of The Stepford Wives (2004, opposite Nicole Kidman and Glenn Close). She will soon play a role in the upcoming The Meddlers (2005), and is scheduled to portray Linda Ashford in Simon Beaufoy’s In the Pink (2007).
- People's Choice: Bette, 2001
- TV Guide: Actress of the Year in a New Series, Bette, 2001
- American Comedy: Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special (Leading or Supporting) Network, Cable or Syndication, Bette
- Midler in Concert: Diva Las Vegas, 1998
- Emmy: Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program, Bette Midler in Concert: Diva Las Vegas, 1997
- CableACE: Music Special or Series, Bette Midler: Diva Las Vegas; shared award, 1997
- CableACE: Performance in a Music Special or Series, Bette Midler: Diva Las Vegas, 1997
- Women in Film Crystal: Crystal Award, 1997
- American Comedy: Funniest Female in a Supporting Role in Film, Get Shorty, 1996
- Golden Globe: Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries, Gypsy, 1993
- American Comedy: Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special (Leading or Supporting) Network, Cable or Syndication, The
- Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, 1993
- Emmy: Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, 1992
- Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy/Musical, For the Boys, 1992
- Grammy: Song of the Year, 1990
- Grammy: Record of the Year, The Wind Beneath My Wings, 1990
- American Comedy: Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role), Big Business, 1989
- American Comedy: Funniest Performance on a Record, Mud Will Be Flung Tonight, 1987
- Grammy: Best Recording for Children, In Harmony/A Sesame Street Record; performed song "Blueberry Pie" on the album, which also featured The Doobie Brothers, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Al Jarreau, Linda Ronstadt, George Benson and others, 1980
- Grammy: Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female, The Rose, 1980
- Golden Globe: Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical), The Rose, 1979
- Golden Globe: Best New Female Star of the Year, The Rose, 1979
- Emmy: Outstanding Special-Comedy, Variety or Music, Bette Midler--Ol' Red Hair Is Back; shared award, 1978
- Special Tony: Adding lustre to the Broadway season, 1974
- Grammy: Best New Artist, 1973